Support for individual employers

Man in his kitchen smiling at his personal assistant

There are many benefits to employing your own staff to provide care and support in your own home but we also know that being an employer can be daunting and confusing. Skills for Care has a range of resources to help make this process easier to understand and to help you support your personal assistant (PA) with learning and development. We also have information about funding that is available for training for you and your PA.

New videos about individual employers

Would you like to hear from other individual employers about their experiences of employing personal assistants and how they used Skills for Care’s resources and funding to help them? If so, please click here to watch their videos. 


The employing personal assistants toolkit is a really good starting point. It guides you through the process of employing a personal assistant, what to do when they are working for you as well as helping you to understand your responsibilities as an employer and your legal obligations. There are some really useful templates that you can use such as job descriptions, application forms and contracts of employment.

Please click here to view PDF, EasyRead and word versions of the toolkit. 

Paper copies and an audio/visual version of the toolkit is available by emailing or calling 0113 245 1716.  Paper copies are free to Individual Employers and Personal Assistants.  For user-led and direct payment organisations, up to 10 copies are available free and additional copies are charged at £5 each to cover print and postage.

A personal assistant (PA) register is a list of personal assistants that are advertising their services and can be used to find and hire a personal assistant in your area.

We also have a list of support organisations, split by area, and their contact details who may be able to help you.

Employing an Apprentice

You can employ a personal assistant through an Apprenticeship scheme. An Apprenticeship is a combination of on and off the job training and learning and is for people of all ages.

As an employee, your apprentice would work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills, getting paid whilst working towards a number of qualifications and gaining experience. Funding is available to support the training. More information is available in the guide for individual employers*.

To give you a better idea of how it works, below is a case study about training a PA through the Apprenticeship scheme:

*Paper copies are available on request by emailing or calling 0113 245 1716.

We are aware that as an individual employer, you may not see yourself as an employer or manager, but that is exactly what you are. To have a successful working relationship, it is important to provide a proper induction for your personal assistant so that you both know what to expect from each other. It's a great way of introducing your PA to your way of working and it gives you the chance to set boundaries early on.

  • Inducting your personal assistant can help you to structure and carry out an induction.
  • Common Induction Standards (CIS)* are the standards that all those working in adult social care should meet. They will help PAs learn about their job and understand the way their employer wants them to carry out their duties.
  • Management Induction Standards (MIS)* help you to recognise and develop your management skills and give you confidence that you are managing your personal assistant in the best way you can.
  • Partnerships for personalisation is a practical guide to successful working relationships between individual employers and their personal assistant.

Training and development is important as it ensures that your PA keeps up to date with practice, works safely with you and gives them additional skills and confidence.

An interactive guide for individual employers: supporting your personal assistant to gain the skills they need is designed to guide you through the different aspects of employing a personal assistant and provides information about how you can support your PA to learn and develop new skills. You can also find out what training is available for you to become a better employer and how to find a learning provider, as well as giving you examples of questions that you should ask them.

An audio/visual DVD and an Easy Read version of the guide are available by emailing or calling 0113 245 1716.

Training and development from User-Led Organisations (ULOs)

For 2014-2015 Skills for Care have funded a number of User-Led Organisations (ULOs) to deliver or arrange training for individual employers and/or personal assistants. You can find a list of these organisations here.

If you employ your own care and support staff, you can apply for a grant from Skills for Care to pay for training for you and your personal assistant. The type of training you could use the money for is:

  • being a good employer/boss
  • health and social care qualifications
  • food hygiene and nutrition
  • emergency first aid
  • communication skills
  • condition specific awareness like dementia, stroke, autism, spinal injuries.

To find out more and to apply, visit the Individual Employer Funding page. The money is available until 27th February 2015 and any course and qualifications must be paid for and started by the 31st March 2015.

If you employ a personal assistant through the Apprenticeships scheme, funding is available to support the training. More information is available in the guide for individual employers*.

User-led organisations can apply for funding to deliver learning and development for individual employers/personal assistants. To find out more and apply please click here

*Paper copies are available on request by emailing or calling 0113 245 1716.

The National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC) is a database which holds information about the social care workforce. You, as an employer, are asked to fill in a set of questions on a computer about the kind of support you have and about your personal assistant(s). 

If you register as an employer, you will receive a number of benefits. You can access money for training, free e-learning, store staff records safely online, review how other employers recruit their staff and even compare pay rates. 

To find out more, please download the NMDS-SC leaflet for individual employers*.

*Paper copies are available on request by emailing or calling 0113 245 1716.

Learn from Others is Skills for Care’s new online resource providing a home for good practice emerging from employers and support organisations.  This includes learning from individual employers, direct support organisations and others.

The free to use resource incorporates written and video case studies, learning materials as well as signposting employers to related resources from Skills for Care and other organisations.

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